Palestinian Who Claimed to Be a Jew Jailed For Rape By Deception

Palestinian man jailed for unusual crime of rape by deception.

ByABC News
July 22, 2010, 7:35 AM

JERUSALEM, July 21, 2010— -- Sabbar Kashur, a Palestinian from East Jerusalem, has been sentenced by an Israeli court to 18 months in jail for the unprecedented crime of "rape by deception."

It is a case that has raised some very difficult questions about discrimination and the legal system in Israel.

Two years ago Kashur met a Jewish woman on the street in Jerusalem. He worked as a messenger for an Israeli law firm and like some other Palestinians looking to integrate more effectively into Israeli society had assumed the identity of a Jew. He called himself Dudu, a common Israeli name.

On the same day the two had a consensual sexual encounter in a nearby office building. The woman, whose identity is still protected by law, did not know Kashur was an Arab. When she found out she filed a complaint with police.

Kashur was questioned by police and spent two years under house arrest facing a charge of rape and sexual assault. It was later dropped to the one of "rape by deception" in a plea bargain.

In his verdict Judge Zvi Segal wrote "If she hadn't thought the accused was a Jewish bachelor interested in a serious romantic relationship, she would not have cooperated."

The judge insisted that the apparent offense of rape by deception was serious enough for jail time and not community service as the defense has argued.

"The court is obliged to protect the public interest from sophisticated, smooth tongued criminals who can deceive innocent victims at an unbearable price," Segal wrote.

The case has attracted widespread criticism from Israeli and Palestinian human rights organizations.

In the left-leaning Israeli paper Haaretz Thursday, noted columnist Gideon Levy pulled no punches in his condemnation of the verdict.

"Sabbar Kashur wanted to be a person, a person like everyone else. But as luck would have it, he was born a Palestinian. It happens. His chances of being accepted as a human being in Israel are nil," he wrote.

Kashur's decision to adopt an Israeli persona during the daytime is not uncommon, according to Israeli human rights activists.